Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism 7

Continuing with the dispensational post from Dan Phillips.
I know some big names who used to be dispensationalists, and aren't. Really? I know some big names who used to be Christians, and aren't. I know some big names who used to be Calvinists, and aren't. Besides, when I hear a guy like [big vaunted amill expert "ex-" author] open his mouth on the subject, it's easy to see why he's an "ex." No evidence of a clue about dispensationalism in what I see him saying now.
When Peter, all full of himself, tells Jesus "We have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God" (John 6:69), Jesus replies, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil" (John 6:70). I take it that our Lord saw Peter as relying on the consensus; so Jesus throws back at Peter, in effect, "...and what if your consensus becomes a consensus of one? What will you do then?" When Judas left, was Jesus less the Messiah and Holy One? (To be clear, my only point in this is that the issue is the Word and truth and what I, myself, do with it, and not how many are voting for an interpretation of it. Some -- in fact, I'd say most -- of the finest, holiest men and women who ever cracked a Bible were not dispensationalists.)

Yeah, this is another silly argument against anyone. However, I am always interested in what it is that changes a person’s thinking that they leave a certain belief system for another, not just dispensationalism. What does get me here, though, is those finest, holiest men and women, from Dan’s perspective evidently lost total faith in the perspicuity of Scripture when they chose to go down the road of non-dispensationalism. Ironic isn’t it?
I am in total agreement with the statement regarding the individuals responsibility to the Truth and the Word. As I stated in a previous post, let God be true and every man a liar, even if that means me.
Dispensationalism is divisive. Just what Arminians say about Calvinism. I don't care from divisive. Everything Biblical is divisive to someone. My only concern: is it Biblical?

And to this I offer a hearty “Amen!” and that in the literal sense However, it is divisive in a way that Dan didn’t mean it. See, I can tell the difference between what is literal and what is not. It is divisive in how it divides up the people of God. See the previous posts for that interaction between the Church and Israel. Specifically not that glaring passage in Ephesians 2 and following (emphasis mine)
11 ¶ Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh——who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 ¶ For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1 ¶ For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
What dispensationalism does is make a future where the work of Christ and the gospel of Christ, in fact, tear these two apart again. Not only that, but they want to erect a real literal Temple, in spite of the fact of what the New Testament calls a Temple. Something that they do fail to realize is two things. The Temple was part of the old covenant, not the Abrahamic covenant, and the writer of Hebrews tells us that the old covenant was put away in order to establish the new (Heb. 10:9). Second, if this Temple were to be built in the future, since classic dispensationalists would hold to animal sacrifices being instituted, would there also be a veil re-erected? What would that imply? Isn’t that a complete undoing of the work of Christ and the gospel?
Dispensationalism is defeatist. Dispensationalism is just what you are when you treat all the Bible respectfully. That's defeatist? Let's see: man cannot solve his own problems, Christ must deliver His saints personally, must personally come in power, grace, and glory to set up His kingdom, human sin and rebellion are shown to be absolutely inexcusable, and Christ reigns forever to the eternal glory of the Triune God. Hunh. Sounds like Calvinism to me. But then again, happy-face Christianoids think Calvinism is defeatist. Guess there's a little Pelagius in everyone, eh?

Well, I have to say, that this charge also comes to some of the a-mil crowd as well. Uh, Bunky, LOL (JK), I am not dispensational and I treat all the Bible respectfully. So stop it. Just stop it. That isn’t a valid argument from Dan either.
I agree with part of his statement (ie. Man cannot solve his own problems, Christ must deliver His saints personally). The next part is only partial. I do believe in a time when history will end and we enter the eternal state and the kingdom is delivered up to the Father according to 1 Corinthians 15, but come on Dan, if you are literal here, then surely you would recognize the apostle Paul’s words from Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Now what kingdom is this? Is it yet future. Does the Son not have his kingdom? Was Paul and all believers not translated, past tense, into this kingdom with Christ as our King? What is this future setting up of “His kingdom”? That kingdom has been established and Christ will reign till all His enemies are put under His feet and then He delivers the kingdom up to His Father. If we take 1 Corinthians 15 literally, we do not come up with your scenario.
He then says, “human sin and rebellion are shown to be absolutely inexcusable.” So do we have to wait for this future kingdom for that to be shown? I thought that was shown in the garden and for that matter every day as Paul stated in Romans 1 that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL ungodliness. We don’t need a future kingdom to show us that.
Christ reigns forever? I thought that kingdom, from the dispensationalist’s point of view, was only a literal 1000 years.
That is not Calvinism. Nor is it a bit of Pelagianism. The only way defeatist can truly be given to the dispensationalist is if indeed they are the types like we witness in the “popular” dispensational culture who are every second thinking they are seeing biblical prophecy fulfilled and are ready to throw in the towel and jump to the clouds. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am quite happy to go be with the Lord as well, but as long as He keeps me here I am quite happy to be here for that is a blessing as well and I take that promise to children obeying their parents from Ephesians 6 as a literal blessing so my time on earth is great, whether in tribulation or not. The point is, Paul was the same way and saw living as unto the Lord and going to be with the Lord as even better, but he did not think being here was terrible.
Dispensationalism is fatalistic. Funny criticism, coming from Calvinists. If Calvinism is not fatalistic (and it isn't), neither is dispensationalism.

Yeah, I think I agree on this point too. Of course, I have not heard this argument, as well as, many that Dan presents here. It is amazing though how this could be a valid argument since usually, but not always, such as in Dan’s case, dispensationalism comes from Arminians. As a matter of fact, it’s roots are in Arminianism (ie. Darby, Scofield, etc.).
Dispensationalism is escapist. Hm, I hear a similar complaint about the Gospel all the time. "So let me get this straight: you sin and sin and sin, and then just believe in Christ, and it's all gone? But some humanitarian who isn't a Christian goes to Hell? How convenient." Viewed from one angle, yep: salvation is convenient. More than convenient, it's glorious, it's stupendous, it's amazing. When you think of all that Christ accomplished for His people on the Cross, all He rescued us from, and delivered us to -- yep, pretty darned convenient.
The pre-tribulational Rapture is small potatoes compared to that great salvation, a fortiori. It's hard to understand shrugging at God's hot fudge sundae, but then carping when He reaches out to place a cherry on the top. Compared to the deliverance from Hell in which all Christians believe, deliverance from the great tribulation is just really nice of God. But certainly not non-credible, on the lame grounds that it is "escapist." What kind of criticism is that from a professedly sola Scriptura guy, anyway?

I would say that you first must prove the pre-trib rapture and honestly I just haven’t seen it. I bet it’d take one of those long books by Dr. So and So that Dan mentioned to actually convince someone of it, since you can’t derive it from any passage of Scripture in its immediate context.
In light of Jesus’ prayer in John 17, it does seem very interesting how this would all fit together. There Jesus prayed,
"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
Maybe, we should make a distinction between dispensationalists and hyper-dispensationalists. In all honesty, I know dispensationalists that are truly “escapists” and I know some who are not, though when you get them started on the pre-trib rapture stuff they might cross the line
I give a hearty “Amen!” when Dan references the great salvation that Christ won for us. There is not doubt that is where our focus is and should be upon, but Dan cannot tell me that those out front in the popular dispensational arena, such as Tim LaHaye, John Hagee, Thomas Ice and others are doing that. Dan maybe doing just fine concerning that, and for that I am thankful.
Dispensationalism teaches a false offer by Christ. This is yet another one of those oft-heard criticisms that is amazingly ironic to hear from Calvinist lips/pens. It is precisely the criticism Arminians of all stripes make of Calvinist evangelism. "You're telling this non-elect guy that if he believes in Christ he'll be saved, even though he'll never believe and never be saved, because he's not elect." We Calvinists reply that the offer is absolutely genuine: if the man repents and believes, he will be saved.
So was the presentation of Christ to Israel.
I genuinely wonder, since such otherwise-smart people keep making this stupid criticism -- what do you think would have happened if Israel had, en masse, repented and believed in Christ at the First Advent? Nothing? Nothing would have been different? What if Adam had never sinned? What if Noah had swatted those two mosquitoes? What if, what if, what if?
I've got another. What if we left off the what-if's, and contented ourselves with the text of Scripture? Wouldn't that be nice? Wouldn't that be Reformed?

Ok, here Dan does not give a good response to what I think I understand is the argument. I think he means to say that there are those who say that dispensationalists say that Christ offered the kingdom to Israel at His first coming and that if the nation had received Him as King then there would have been this geo-political establishment that dispensationalists want. This is implied in the term offer.
The problem is at what point does Jesus offer such a kingdom? It is true He is was and is King, but even before Pilate He reiterated the fact that His kingdom didn’t derive its authority from this earth. It is not a carnal kingdom. When the people came to make Him King, He rejected that (Jn. 6:15), not the other way around. As I pointed out in my post on Psalm 2, God never stopped being King of Israel when they asked for a human king. This should be understood here as well. Jesus did not need the permission of the nation to be King.
Dan, rightly uses the word presentation when referencing Israel. We need to understand this. Just as Gordan Clark was hit with this concerning the presentation of the gospel over half a century ago, we should be clear on this as well. Christ was presented to the nation Israel as King. Their rejection of Him didn’t keep Him from being King and it didn’t keep the kingdom from coming either! The same is true with the gospel. The gospel is not an offer in the sense that we use the word. Though those who wrote the confessions used the word, they had the idea of presentation, not a cordial “will you or will you not?” The gospel is a command.
As to the comment in regards to “what-ifs”, that has been my sentiment for so long that I am in total agreement with it. It is amazing the even well meaning Calvinists often bring this into the equation as though it will have any bearing upon anything. There are not what ifs. There is only what has happened, what is happening and just as in both of those things, the sovereign God of history has determined what will happen in the future. SDG

No comments: